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August 16, 2020 at 09:01 #57680SA
The accuracy of the test in clinical practice does not mean that the test itself is useless, it means that there are other factors such as the way swabs are taken, the number of samples, the timing of the swabs and where the swabs come from, nasal swabs, urine BAL etc… Also as stated a positive result is more significant than a negative result. This is not really a reflection on the test itself. In a fast moving situation, practice evolves and what this paper is saying is that the practice of swabbing and the interpretation of results is important.
So if you are well today and have a swab which is negative then you become ill two days later and the swab then is positive, it does not mean that any of these tests were unreliable, it just means that there was not enough virus two days ago to be picked up on testing on the first occasion.
I am not sure what the reference for the bit on the block quotes is, could you please provide one?August 16, 2020 at 09:09 #57681SA
It is sometimes difficult to follow your arguments mainly because you seem to be against everything, the science, the medicine and the politics. Whereas science and medicine are more open to scrutiny, politics, especially under the current ‘regime’ is not and as we know is often deliberately twisted. The politics is also trying to recruit some of the ‘science’ both as a defense for their arbitrary action, but ultimately as a fall guy. It weakens your case if you attack everyone because what we should really attack is the government’s handling of this both in the general sense but specifically in the economic sleazy sense.August 16, 2020 at 11:46 #57700N_
I messed up “sensitivity” and “specificity” because I am more into pure maths than applied maths and more used to the terms “true positives” and “true negatives” which are more self-explanatory. So I will redo the calculation below. My apologies for this.
“Sensitivity” and “specificity” are deliberately confusing terms meant to be memorised by medical students and then used mostly within the “profession” to exclude those who are outside the racket. (This happens in all “professions”, not just among charlatans such as NHS GPs who allow the plebs to think they have doctorates and local solicitors who “specialise” in conveyancing, “helping” senile elderly ladies manage their bequests whether in property or financial assets, and remortgaging.) “True positive rate” is a much clearer term that indicates how many % of people who test positive actually have what is supposed to be have been tested for. Nobody will confuse “true positive” with “true negative” as I unfortunately did “sensitivity” with “specificity”.
The aide memoire “I’m positive that I’m sensitive” seems a good way to remember which way round it is 🙂
The figures for 70% sensitivity (true positives) and 95% specificity (true negatives) (which I have checked) come from the “practice note” in the British Medical Journal that I linked to. The BMJ, owned by Elsevier, is a vehicle for Big Pharma propaganda – see the relevant pages of Edward Bernays’s great (absolutely must-read) book “Propaganda” on how “trade journals” create and manage “opinion” within a “trade”, and also Vance Packard’s “Hidden Persuaders” in which – going by memory – I seem to recall he talks about the marketing of librium which medics were told should be prescribed “whatever the diagnosis”. Things are done more subtly nowadays. Nowadays there is little leftwing critique of how say “flu jabs” were marketed until they became “normal”, although that would be extremely interesting knowledge to have at the present time. (Perhaps there are some loony-right articles about it, mixed up with assertions such as that the Sandy Hook massacre was fake. By such means is clear critique obstructed. This kind of method developed after Bernays wrote.) Similarly “everyone” talks of “Oxford” research, “Cambridge” research, and “Imperial College” research, rather than whichever drug companies are really calling the shots. At Oxford it’s Astra Zeneca. At Cambridge it’s Glaxo Smith Kline. I don’t know who it is at Imperial.
The BMJ article, entitled “Interpreting a covid-19 test result”, says the 70% and 95% figures are at the lower ends of reviews and that they are approximate. I am not trying to be an “expert” who produces a super-accurate estimate of how many people have had SARS-CoV2. I have no particular opinion on what the real figure is. I am just trying to pick at what a heap of flimsy rubbish the officially encouraged lines of thought are where testing is concerned.
The stuff in the block quote is just me applying Bayes’s Theorem. Feed in the rate of true positives and the rate of true negatives, and you get the “likelihood ratio” (“Bayes factor”) that tells you how to alter the whole-population incidence rate (i.e. the probability that a person chosen at random has the problem) to get the post-test probability (one figure for if it’s positive, another for if it’s negative) that the tested person has the infection. This is the principle of how you get from ANY medical test result to an estimate of the probability that the person has the infection or other problem. Of course you are right that other indicators should be accounted for, which is why I said let’s take the person at random from the population.
In the real world, testing is not done at random. Two cases in particular are interesting: first, when people who do have “the symptoms” are NOT tested, and second, when people who don’t have the symptoms (or who at least have only a high temperature or basically a cold) ARE tested. In Britain I reckon both groups include a lot of people.
“Covid-19” is a collection of flu-type symptoms. (Impairment of smell and taste also happens with the common cold which is usually a much less severe illness than flu.) Many who have had these symptoms have never been tested for SARS-CoV2. If I recall correctly, these include our host on this blog and his wife. If the ill people are in “care homes for the elderly” (mostly rented by wide boys from companies they are connected with that are registered offshore), they have usually been left without any hospital treatment. Ambulance teams have been told not to attend to them, but to spend hours cleaning and re-cleaning their ambulances instead, Nero-style. If they then die, many are recorded on their medical certificates of the cause of death (MCCDs) as having died with Covid-19 even if they were never actually tested for SARS-CoV2. (How many of the 40000+ deaths “with Covid-19” in Britain does this account for, I wonder?) I.e. they were recorded as having died with Covid-19 because they had flu symptoms, and then probably many of them died of pneumonia (another collection of symptoms that can have many causes) inside care homes, pneumonia that was brought to the care homes by patients who caught it in hospital and were then discharged back into the care homes. (If you want to murder loads of people in a care home, this is a way to do it.) The policy is one of “involuntary euthanasia”. In Germany the extermination policy did not start with Jews, gays, Jehovah’s witnesses, recidivist criminals, etc. – it started with the physically and mentally disabled. There haven’t been many press articles about how the homeless have been getting along in Britain since they were cleared off the streets in March either.
One of the most important provisions in the Coronavirus Act (sections 11-13) is the provision for indemnifying designated people from liability when patients die. Now that the petty-official manager stuck-up types who infest this country have been entrained into spouting “coronavirus”-themed bullsh*t by their higher-ups and the media, bullsh*t that directly contradicts what is going on often in front of their eyes, and what they could in any case work out if they were used to applying a teensy bit of logic in a sensible way undirtied with any poncy “I’m an expert” role-playing, they basically have the taste for blood. It’s a twist on the Stanford Prison Experiment or Stanley Milgram’s electroshock experiment.
It’s very scary indeed and the prognosis doesn’t look good. The economic background is one of very heavy over-employment, as anyone who has walked past an office building can attest. We are at the early stage of a cull which is likely to exceed greatly what has happened so far.
(See the “toilet paper” story. Exciting to Daily Mail readers because it’s about bums, and also about dirt, this was deliberate misdirection by the government in order to make shortages look amusing and to direct attention to this particular commodity, a shortage of which is certainly annoying but is nowhere near as problematic as shortages of food. In March, various food items were similarly put on private-sector ration and similarly ran short on the shelves, but it was “wiping your bum” that got most of the media attention. As a piece of psychological warfare it was a bit of a practice on a shooting range. One can also remark on the functioning of the NOTION of “panic” – not actual “panic” but the notion of it.)
Now to the calculation. I am taking 6% as the incidence rate because it was mentioned here.
So we have
prior probability = incidence rate = 0.06
convert to odds: prior odds = 0.06 / 0.94 = 0.063830
true positive rate = sensitivity = 0.70
true negative rate = specificity = 0.95
false negative rate = 1 – 0.95 = 0.05
likelihood ratio = Bayes factor = true positive rate / false negative rate = 0.70 / 0.05 = 14
posterior odds = prior odds * likehihood ratio = 0.063830 * 14 = 0.893617
convert to probability: posterior probability = 0.893617 / 1.893617 = 0.471910
a positive test result from “RT-PCR” test, carried out on person chosen randomly, indicates that
the probability they are infected with SARS-CoV2 is 47%
As I said, many may have had SARS-CoV2 but were never tested. But there are also many who have been tested, and who tested positive, and who probably did not have SARS-CoV2. If these were all people who were tested only because they had the whole collection of specified symptoms, then the above figure 47% doesn’t tell us much, because it rests on an incidence figure of 6% which is (supposedly) for the whole population. However, they were NOT all people who displayed the said symptoms. Many of them were probably as fit a fiddle or at least had no more than a minor cold for a day or two. They include many who work in the NHS. The official advice is get tested if you have any one of the three famous symptoms. NHS advice:
You can get a test:
(…) if you have coronavirus symptoms now (a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste)
Note the use of “or” rather than “and”. A minor sniffle will give you the third of these symptoms.
It’s relevant that tests have been given out like smarties to NHS staff, because I would imagine that now that most hospital wards have been shut down the managers don’t want loads of nurses and other employees running around all over the place with nothing to do other than “makework”.
Last, while I’m here, going by official figures and interpretations it seems that many have caught SARS-CoV2 and successfully fought it off, in some cases without even getting symptoms. Their immune systems have defeated it, sometimes even before their antibodies have been called out! That’s good news! In many individuals, it’s been a case of Evolved Human Biology 1, The Nasty Virus 0. And not all of these people are children. Reason suggests that on average they have had a smaller viral load than those who have died from the virus, but the point is that their immune systems have fought the virus and won.
This makes it a disgrace that there has been absolutely no “public health advice” telling people how to strengthen their immune systems. (Cryzine make this point well in their footnote 7 here.) I could make a list of foods and substances but will mention only iron, zinc, and vitamin C (e.g. in orange juice) for the time being. Many middle class and lower middle class bureaucratic types assume that whatever they are not ordered to say to “the public” is material that “the public” shouldn’t hear, and doubtless they could come up with a dozen reasons why advice about “how to strengthen your immune system” would be “inappropriate” to give to people, would be misinterpreted, would cause more harm than help, would cause the sky to fall in, and so on and so forth, ad nauseam – a string of bullsh*t “reasons”.August 16, 2020 at 13:34 #57704SA
There is a lot here that you wrote and I do not presume to even try and answer you point by point. To start on a light note: “Why is there a shortage of loo paper?” “Because every time one person coughs, a hundred shit themselves”.
But let is analyse some of what I perceive to be known about SARS Cov2 and Covid 19.
SARS Cov2 is the recently described virus which has been associated with a set of clinical conditions from being completely asymptomatic, to having mild cold like or flu like symptoms, to being severely ill, to requiring ventilation support and at the extreme to dying of multiorgan failure.
Covid-19 on the other hand is the disease caused by the virus which constitutes only about 20% of all those who encounter the virus according to several studies. So not everyone who is infected with SARS Cov2 develops Covid 19, in fact 80% go around their business merrily and do not even notice. This is not unique to this virus because disease caused by many agent, whether microbiological, neoplastic, inflammatory or chemically induced, are manifested by the combination of the presence of the agent, the amount or dose of exposure, the timescale of the exposure, the state of the immune system at the time of exposure, genetic makeup of the individual, dietary factors and so on.
In the case of Covid 19 some observations so far have shown some of the factors associated with severe disease. There is a very strong correlation with age and certain comorbidities, including heart disease, diabetes, factors such as obesity, ethnic origin and sex. These all contribute to the variability of the disease in any one group of cases.
What has also been known from the outset is that the most extreme end of the spectrum, respiratory failure is associated with what is medically known as ARDS, whereby fluid accumulates in the lung and the patients literally drown in their own secretions. Ventilation in these cases has a limited effect because you can’t force oxygen through all the inflammatory fluid in the alveoli, but is used purely as a holding measure. It has been shown, in the case of Covid-19 and also other diseases associated with ARDS, as well as multiorgan failure, that this situation is caused by an overreaction of the immune system (known as a cytokine storm) to the virus that occurs in some cases. Why this is the case, is not known. One of the practical outcomes of this knowledge is that dexamethasone, an immunosuppressive agent, used in medicine to treat various conditions associated with dysregulated immunity, but also cancers of the immune system, has been shown to have some beneficial effects in patients at this severe end of disease increasing their chances of survival.
Also unlike some expectations, some patients with immunosuppression due to their cancers were found to be surprisingly less susceptible to severe disease.
To go back to some of your points and calculating the possibility of finding a positive or negative results. This is in the realms of experimental or theoretical mathematics and may be used for algorithms or other guidelines in public health planning. But in the glaring daylight of frontline medicine the positive PCR for SARS cov2 means with a 100% certainty that you have the virus in your secretions. The test has a very high degree of specificity because it is looking at unique sequences and amplifying them. False positive results arise nevertheless mainly because of the possibility of contamination because of the high sensitivity of the test and hence the 5% error rate. Nevertheless in a well controlled laboratory with rigorous procedures the a positive result should mean that the virus has been detected in that individual. Rigorous internal and external quality controls are used in order to validate and accredit laboratories.
So moving on to symptoms of covid-19. I think there is a subtlety that escapes the layman, say about certain symptoms. To take an example, loss of smell and taste. The mechanisms that operate in this symptom and in covid-19 are completely different. It has been added as a specific symptom, because it often predates any coryzal symptoms, such as sneezing or a bunged up nose, and even occurs in the absence of these. In the common cold, loss of smell and taste is relative, and is due to inflammatory secretions around the taste and smell organs, but in covid-19 it appears to be due to an effect on the nervous system that transmits the perceptions of taste and smell from these receptors to the brain. Also the cough in typical covid-19 is often dry and associated with breathlessness much before there are any other respiratory symptoms, unlike in flu for example, where the shortness of breath, due to secondary bacterial pneumonia happens later in the disease.
Just to take one or two other points you make: The care homes death from covid-19 was at the early stages markedly underreported and there was no testing of care homes or even of elderly patients in hospital with early discharges to care homes, which then led to this tragedy of care home deaths. To mix this up only gives leeway to Johnson and co who want to absolve themselves of any responsibility.
The other point about statistics and % positives I wish to make, which I am sure you know, is that the positive rate is a shifting one because of the variability of number and symptomatic groups of people tested, but also because of the shifting infection rates. This moving target makes it difficult to make too many assumptions at present.August 17, 2020 at 11:57 #57747Clark
N_, August 15, 11:29, #57654:
– “Only a small number of tests (say a few thousand) are needed to estimate incidence (“total infected so far” per population), assuming the test works reasonably well.”
(a) I would expect this to be true for an infection that is near equilibrium in a population, ie. it has been around long enough to be distributed throughout the population – a proportion having sufficient immunity, a proportion having insufficient immunity but not a recent chance to be infected, and a proportion with the infection; all three groups distributed among each other.
(b) I would expect it to be untrue for a novel infection (1) to which the population begins with no immunity and (2) which spreads very fast.
A “few thousand tests” is a sample of the population; hopefully a random sample. In case (a), a random sample should yield a result representative of the randomly distributed infection, but in case (b) infection will be very clustered around the initial seeding infections, and by definition, the locations of these are unknown.
The fast spread is also significant, as the timescale for performing the tests and collating the results is similar to or exceeds the doubling time of the infection; the results will be out of date by the time they are ready for publication.
– “With the new SARS strain this happened through the biowar defence network and was done covertly. All sorts of tests are done covertly all the time.”
N_, do you have insider knowledge of this or are you guessing? To me this seems an unlikely approach, since the type of pathogen to test for would be unknown. As a first guess, if I were designing such a biowar detection/monitoring system, I would suggest monitoring of health databases to detect any sudden surges in a broad variety of symptoms, and to produce distribution maps of them to indicate clusters.August 17, 2020 at 12:54 #57754Clark
N_, I think too much significance can be placed upon testing, just as too much can be placed upon modelling. As SA points out, it is the medical staff who have direct experience of the effects of covid-19 upon actual individuals. It is medical staff who learn what works under which circumstances to improve given sufferers’ conditions, or fails to.
Yes, there will be errors both ways, but different reporting systems in different regions and countries will also extenuate those errors one way or the other. The situation is changing fast, and people are learning fast. In a few years time much will be realised in retrospect…
…In the meantime, we should all exercise patience and tolerance. Please pardon me for saying so, but you seem highly critical and indeed angry with entire professional groups. Such groups of course consist of diverse individuals, some better some worse, but all conditioned and habituated to various extents under the corrosive and abusive system that we have all been suffering under increasingly during its ascendency over the course of decades.
Ultimately, we need unity and communality among people, whereas the toxic system both exploits and encourages division between us. In the current socio-political environment, forgiveness, tolerance and respect become revolutionary attitudes.
Love and Rage to you, N_.August 21, 2020 at 10:42 #57938SA
Matt Hancock’s announcement that the governement is disbanding PHE. It is to be replaced with the new National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP), which will take on some of PHE’s existing responsibilities along with the NHS Test and Trace programme and the work of the Joint Biosecurity Centre.. The announcement was made on Tuesday with little detail other than that the new organization was to be headed by Baroness Harding, a non medic whom Hancock described as “simply the best” person in the entire country to run his pandemic organization right now.
This is so blatantly a political move which is part of the government’s plan of using the covid-19 to run its own agenda on social and health changes in this country. If this proposal is to be taken seriously then it should have been made through a transparent process and by choosing a top scientist to head the organization which has a much bigger role in the health of the nation than just the prevention of epidemics or dealing with them.
The Tories have deliberately underfunded Public health England by cutting its funds by £850 million since it start in 2013.
Cynically this move, done hastily is probably meant not only to start the privatisation and politicisation of major parts of the NHS system, but also to scapegoat PHE for what is essentially a failure of government policy in dealing with the covid-19 pandemic. In some ways the scientists and medical advisers who have remained uncritical of the governement throughout this, have brought it on themselves. Time for those experts to speak out.
This letter in the BMJ sumarises the catastrophe that awaits us.
“Restructuring Public Health England: public health is about more than being prepared for future pandemics
August 19, 2020
Paul C Coleman, Joht Singh Chandan, and Fatai Ogunlayi consider the effect this restructure will have on the future health and wellbeing of England
We have serious concerns about the future of public health in England after the announcement earlier this week that Public Health England (PHE) will be disbanded. Few organisations can claim not to have made any mistakes in the management of the covid-19 pandemic. Yet media reports on the role of PHE have often been misinformed and one sided, with PHE receiving criticism for mistakes outside of its remit, including a lack of mass testing and problems with the supply of personal protective equipment. PHE has also received criticism for halting contact tracing on 12 March—a decision that was in fact part of the government’s move into the “delay” phase of its coronavirus strategy.
While there are lessons that must be learnt, it would be prudent for the government to delay any restructure until we can better understand the mistakes that have been made, especially since the prime minister announced in July that there would be “an independent inquiry into what happened.”
We are particularly concerned about the crippling effect this restructure will have on the future health and wellbeing of this nation, and the ability of our public health system to respond to the interrelated challenges posed by communicable and non-communicable diseases. While it is too early to ascertain why the UK experienced one of the highest levels of covid-19 mortality in Europe, there is evidence to suggest that this could be partly due to the UK’s high prevalence of morbidities, such as obesity and diabetes, which are recognised risk factors for severe covid-19 outcomes. Furthermore, the UK’s ethnic and regional variation in deaths from covid-19 shows that it is incredibly difficult to disentangle the effects of the virus from the wider impacts of health inequalities in our society.
Since its inception in 2013, in the wake of another disruptive top-down restructure, a core function of PHE has been to address the socioeconomic determinants of ill health. However, the spending review of 2015 saw PHE’s budget cut drastically and during this time we have seen widening inequalities between the richest and poorest parts of England, a stall in improvements to life expectancy, and rising levels of morbidity and mortality from a range of non-communicable diseases. These failings are due to a decade of austerity, cuts to local authority public health budgets, and the government continually prioritising cure over prevention—as demonstrated by the disparity in funding for the NHS and public health.
Unfortunately, it seems that yet again the socioeconomic causes of ill health are being ignored. The announcement of PHE’s disbanding by Matt Hancock, the secretary of state for health and social care, outlined no plans for the future of health improvement and PHE workstreams focusing on the non-communicable causes of disease.
While covid-19 may be the greatest public health challenge currently facing the country, mortality from the impacts of air pollution alone is predicted to outweigh covid-19 related deaths over the next decade. What we need from the government is a cohesive strategy that recognises the complexities of addressing the interconnected challenges posed by communicable and non-communicable causes of diseases—as highlighted by the inequalities in covid-19 morbidity and mortality.
We urge the government to consider the vital role of public health in reducing inequalities and improving the health of the whole nation. In particular, we need to see greater investment in local public health services, especially in areas with the highest levels of deprivation and worst health outcomes. Critically, we also demand immediate clarity on the government’s future plans for the vital health improvement work undertaken by PHE, and how as a country we will address both the communicable and non-communicable causes of disease.
Paul Coleman is a public health specialty registrar at the University of Warwick.
Joht Singh Chandan is an academic clinical fellow in public health at the Universities of Birmingham and Warwick. Twitter @JohtChandan”August 21, 2020 at 13:04 #57942Clark
I’m worried by this Joint Biosecurity Centre; the name alone sounds military, and:
– “It is modelled on the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, established in 2003, which advises the government on the appropriate terrorism threat level.”
– “Clare Gardiner, director of national resilience and strategy at the National Cyber Security Centre (part of GCHQ), has been seconded as director general to set it up.”August 21, 2020 at 13:06 #57943N_
Is it true that many private hospitals in Britain have rented out most or all of their beds to “the NHS” because of the “virus crisis”, and that most of those beds have lain empty for several months, just like most beds in “NHS” hospitals?
If so, how much is the government paying the private hospitals for that?
That’s a step on from paying mafia-run construction companies to build a bridge that nobody wants.August 21, 2020 at 14:01 #57948SA
Yes according to the daily mail, both stories seem to be correct. Covid-19 has been used to accelerate transference of NHS tax payer’s money to the private sector. The privatisation of the NHS will then be complete and seamless.August 21, 2020 at 15:41 #57952Clark
N_, I agree with you wholeheartedly that covid-19 has been and is being capitalised upon ruthlessly, but it’s a virus crisis, not a “virus crisis”. The right is very happy to encourage as much denial as possible; get as many working and shopping again so they can get back to creaming the profit. From my observation, the cherry-picking and conspiracy theories start at the entirely anonymous Swiss Propaganda Research, progress to Off-Guardian and UK Column, and end up repeated (slightly watered down) in the Telegraph, Express etc.
Critical care beds filled to capacity in March/April and ICU was severely overrun, but not for long; see eg. “Hospital resource use” section here. Covid-19 is fast – fast to spread, and fast to either kill or get better.August 23, 2020 at 12:55 #58019N_
“Police in England will be able to fine organisers of illegal gatherings of more than 30 people such as raves up to £10,000 from Friday, ministers say.” (BBC.)
(This is relevant to this thread because the context is “restrictions” that have been or will be imposed ostensibly because of SARS-CoV2.)
When did police get the authority to impose fines?August 23, 2020 at 22:35 #58027Clark
Police have been able to issue penalty notices since the 1950s:August 29, 2020 at 15:01 #58537N_
Heard today on a BBC Radio 4 phone-in programme about the problems of getting people to return to “work” in the office: a woman who described herself as a “buy-to-let landlady” (fingers on triggers, everyone!) who didn’t use “public transport” but whose husband had used it before SARS-Cov2 said that it would be dangerous for her husband to go back to work, because public transport is so disease-ridden, because many people are travelling on it who aren’t wearing masks – and “nobody is telling them off”.
In other words, proletarian scum are breathing the way they want, with impunity! What an insult that is to all right-thinking people!
She suggested that they should be given 3 days in prison, or 50 hours of “community service”. Perhaps they could clean the properties she has bought to let? And if she sees a nostril slip out when one of them was scrubbing the kitchen for her, perhaps she should be empowered to order the nostril’s owner to work for another 50 hours?
This piece of sh*t obviously thinks she has the right to rob people who don’t own houses and who are in the position that they have to pay her so that they can live in a house that she owns but doesn’t live in. There’s nothing new in that. That’s what almost all landlords think. She also hates most working class people who can’t afford cars. There’s nothing new in that either.
But look how the hatred is building. This moneygrabbing parasite wants the sharp end of the state to clean the smellies out of her ladyship and her husband’s way, for hygiene’s sake.
Meanwhile the government are saying grandparents won’t be able to hug their grandchildren at Christmas. Well why open the f*cking schools then? They are encouraging the kind of dulling of family relationships that is common in famine, even though there isn’t yet a famine.
Hug your grandchildren! F*ck the government!August 29, 2020 at 15:19 #58538N_
The reopening of schools is another big propaganda topic at the moment. Practically the whole of the mainstream media are assuming as follows:
a) that parents can’t and won’t educate their children in anything, and that therefore children who don’t go to school receive no education whatsoever, even while their parents are off work and in the house all day;
b) that school is compulsory (they don’t say this but they strongly imply it – they certainly don’t mention that parents have a statutory right to have their children deregistered from any damned school with immediate effect);
c) regarding the reopening of schools (in which teachers will act even more like concentration camp guards than they did before SARS-Cov2), that parents are incapable of understanding that children can spread a virus that doesn’t harm them themselves or even cause them any noticeable symptoms. Never mind that this was supposedly precisely the reason that schools were shut in the first place. It is now largely forgotten about. The ultra-patronising and typically British discourse is mostly “Don’t worry about little Johnny. We’ve got a hygiene policy in place. He won’t get ill. We understand you’re worried, or at least you’re worried when you don’t have all those non-native men visiting you in your council flat. Nothing’s going to happen. Trust the authorities.”August 30, 2020 at 18:49 #58584Clark
Schools should NOT be reopened:
– When COVID-19 is no longer being transmitted within a community, schools can begin to reopen safely. It is not safe to reopen schools for in-person schooling while community transmission is still present. In-person schooling increases the risk of rapidly escalating case numbers throughout the community, placing health and lives at risk and possibly requiring further lockdowns to contain transmission. Before a community can safely begin to reopen schools (primary, secondary and higher education), they must bring new cases to zero and have safeguards in place to keep cases at zero. We can stop COVID-19 community transmission. All it takes is five weeks. We know how to get there, and we can all start now.August 30, 2020 at 19:00 #58585Clark
The article I linked above includes lots of links to scientific and statistical articles about covid-19 in schools and its effects on children.August 31, 2020 at 01:31 #58595SA
All these discussions are a diversion. Any measure whatever it is, to reduce the spread of the pandemic, has not only been abandoned but also completely unmentioned by any one. The key to stopping an epidemic is – or should I say, was – to test, contact trace and proper quarantine, not voluntary self isolation. The offhand way by which this basic principle of containing highly contagious diseases have never been debated and has been outsourced for profit and not containment.
Like politics it seems that science and medicine have given up resistance to a cult of constant misinformation.August 31, 2020 at 01:41 #58596SA
The key to all this is adaptability. Maybe the planet is seeking to heal itself? Human activity must change and COVID-19 is pointing the way. Strangely measures that became popular such as working from home, a brilliant idea where it can be done, is now being discouraged because the spinoffs of working in crowded inner cities are being threatened. But the spinoffs must adapt.
Take for example all the unnecessary journeys in overcrowded tubes leading to reduction in pollution just one example.September 5, 2020 at 11:37 #58844N_
Regarding the £10000 “penalty” imposed on Piers Corbyn for his involvement in a “Stop the New Normal” demo in central London, Matthew Scott writes as follows:
“(T)he £10,000 Fixed Penalty Notice issued to Piers Corbyn as someone “involved in” the demonstration is disturbing. Mr Corbyn’s “FPN” requires him – strictly speaking one could argue it “invites him” but it is an invitation backed by a threat – to pay £10,000 for breaching Regulation 5B of The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions on Holding of Gatherings and Amendment) (England) Regulations 2020.”
“Regulation 5B was hastily made law last Friday 28th August, the day before the demonstration was held. It was introduced under an emergency procedure and was neither debated nor given even the most cursory scrutiny by any Parliamentary process. It permits the most junior Community Support Officer in the country to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice to the suspected organiser of a political event, demanding £10,000 to avoid prosecution and consequent financial ruin.” (Emphasis added)
(Note: the reference should be to section 2 of the cited regulations, which creates section 5B of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) Regulations 2020.)September 8, 2020 at 01:33 #59046N_
In the British NHS, the partners of pregnant women are now not even being allowed into hospitals to accompany the women when they “go to appointments” (excuse the Britspeak), for example when they learn they are having a miscarriage. “That’s because of the coronavirus, love”, you can imagine some senior nurse straight out of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” telling the couple in a patronising tone at the door, used to “explaining” to “members of the public” whatever her bosses have told her to believe that day – unvarying in her belief that “members of the public” are mainly stupid, not like her, and always mindful of the security procedure she should follow if a member of the public doesn’t knuckle down and lick boot.
That’s the NHS for you.
NHS = Nazional Heimland Service.
“Because of the coronavirus”, my left cr*phole!
What it really is is another example of the across-the-board attack on socialisation, as the state hierarchy gets ever stronger vis-a-vis the proletarian population.
Naive lefties should perhaps put their hands over their ears right now, but the truth is that the rich are not treated like this. Similarly rich women in Britain were able to get abortions prior to the 1967 Abortion Act, and their husbands were allowed to be present when they gave birth decades before that “privilege” was allowed to proletarian male procreators.
State schools of course have been like this for decades – teachers often treat proletarian parents as if they are potential or actual paedophiles who are not only sexually extremely promiscuous but probably eat their dinners while sitting on their living room armchairs.
Basically the proletariat are viewed as farm animals – the parent-child relationship in the proletariat is considered to be worth f*ck all compared to the anti-educational regimented culture of the army-like school system, and now what’s happening is the relationship between two expecting parents (young lefties please note: parents come in pairs and can only be a man and a woman) is similarly being cr*pped on as if it were not just worthless but a threat to public hygiene.
Of course there are some who don’t give a tinker’s cuss for obeying the regulations governing who they’re supposed to be allowed to meet and where, and at what distance. But we are few, very few.
Unfortunately many locked themselves in their houses for 3 months, only venturing out to the shops about once a week, too scared to go for a daily walk to get some exercise even though it has always been legal. Their wising up within the next few weeks or months or years to realise that they themselves were the authors of their own imprisonment seems unlikely, to say the least.
Would they put their heads in the gas oven if someone with a posh accent or an “expert” demeanour told them to?
Yes, many of them would.
I am totally fed up with engaging in any conversation about SARS-Cov2 where the other person has no interest in how the concept of “hygiene” functions in British class society and in Britain’s almost colonial administrative structure.September 8, 2020 at 15:26 #59125N_
The British government has “lost” £3.5 billion to coronavirus “fraud” – and that’s only what they’re admitting.
Will any minister or official get jailed or the sack?
Will any City firm that advised “Her Majesty’s Government” on the “furlough scheme” cease to get government contracts?
Will they hell…
Time for a story on the front pages about “Prince” Harry’s house, or about some other “prince” attending nursery school. I mean what’s a three and a half billion quid heist (that will probably turn out to be much bigger, assuming sterling will last much longer as a currency that anybody takes seriously) compared to a “prince’s” haircut or a “duchess’s” dress?September 9, 2020 at 10:18 #59279SA
Another small study suggests that improvement in clinical management of patients with covid 19 who require increased oxygenation by injections of a licensed drug, a Kinin B2 receptor antagonist, icatibant, to 10 patients and 20 controls, in a case controlled study of patients with covid-19 requiring oxygen therapy:
Pulmonary edema is a prominent feature in patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID19). Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) enters the cell via angiotensin converting enzyme 2 (ACE2).1
ACE2 is involved in degrading the kinin des-Arg9-bradykinin, a potent vasoactive peptide that can cause vascular leakage. Loss of ACE2 might lead to plasma leakage and further activation of the plasma kallikrein-kinin system with more bradykinin formation that could
contribute to pulmonary angioedema via stimulation of bradykinin 2 receptors.2 We investigated
whether treatment with the bradykinin 2 receptor antagonist icatibant in patients with COVID-19
could be used as a treatment strategy.
Of course this will need confirmation through a large randomised study, but together with the study published on the use of dexamethasone, may help save some lives until more effective targeted therapy is found.
Interestingly it has also been observed that the rising number of cases in this second wave is associated with less severe disease including the number of deaths. Although this is at present anecdotal, the ratio of new cases to deaths seems to confirm this at present. A number of reasons may be at play but one of them is probably also due to better management of the severely ill patients due to increased understanding of the disease process.September 9, 2020 at 20:07 #59319N_
Boris Johnson says he wants everybody to take “enabling tests” for “the virus” at the beginning of every day. (Click that link to hear him say it.)
Ways that can work:
1. <b>Everyone is microchip-implanted</b), and the testing technology shakes hands with an implant when it takes the blood sample, verifying somehow that the implant and the sample are in the same person’s body.
2. The technology checks the DNA fingerprint of the blood sample that it runs the viral antigen test on. (Be aware that cutting the strands of DNA into pieces as is required for a DNA test currently takes at least a few hours.)
3. Any other suggestions? (A system relying on voice recognition, an iris scan, or other non-intrusive biometrics such as face recognition, would be easy to beat. For example, just show another person’s face to the camera when you stick your finger in the finger-prick device.)September 9, 2020 at 20:33 #59321N_
It looks like this:
* everyone will be microchipped
* everyone will either be under house arrest or allowed out on daily-reviewed parole
Today some idiot said they weren’t a “conspiracy theorist” when I remarked that a) many have contracted the novel SARS strain and beaten it; b) most people can easily increase the health of their immunue systems (for example by drinking more orange juice and taking iron and zinc), and c) “health officials” could easily spread this information but haven’t.September 9, 2020 at 23:01 #59339Clark
But N_, you are a conspiracy theorist. All this pretence that the pandemic is just concocted and isn’t a problem, that the climate emergency is a hoax; it’s all classic conspiracy theory. Plus you support the “Jewish doctors murdered Stalin” thing. And also, you seem to hate almost everyone.September 10, 2020 at 01:52 #59354SA
N_ is acting in a very un Marxist way echoing the empire’s attack on climate change Resistance and attacking the NHS workers as tools of the empire. Moreover N_ rarely answers when challenged just producing more conspiracy theories. I have seen this methodology before.September 10, 2020 at 09:09 #59411Clark
– “I have seen this methodology before.”
Yes. It comes to be easily recognisable. The ‘net is awash with it.September 12, 2020 at 11:43 #59580Clark
– “…but together with the study published on the use of dexamethasone, may help save some lives until more effective targeted therapy is found.”
The New York and Spanish studies, and the Diamond Princess figures give an Infection Fatality Rate of about 1.4%. However, these were with hospitalisation, treatment, breathing support etc. We must remember that left unchecked by social restrictions, covid-19 would still overwhelm hospitals by a factor of ten, in which case the IFR would more likely be around 2.8% – that would be around 1.9 million people in the UK.September 16, 2020 at 11:11 #59873N_
Reported deaths with Covid-19 in the US:
5-8 Sep (Sat, Sun, Mon, Tue): 707, 430, 286, 496
12-15 Sep (Sat, Sun, Mon, Tue): 707, 392, 480, 1197
Figures from Worldometers.
So yesterday’s figure was an increase of 141% over the number for the previous Tuesday. This is looking like the beginning of a “third wave” in the US.
Given the weekly reporting cycle, it is sensible to compare figures from the same day of the week, as above. The federal Labour Day holiday on Monday 7 September probably had an effect on the usual reporting pattern, but the figures for the three days prior to the two Tuesdays suggest that at least most of yesterday’s increase is NOT the result of reports stacking up because of the holiday. If such a stack-up happened, it might explain the small decrease on Sunday and the small increase on Monday, but it doesn’t explain the rocketing growth yesterday.
It is just about possible that the holiday may have caused some reports to be filed early rather than late (I am not sure how this may have happened, but it may have occurred for some bureaucratic reason), so keep a watch on the figure for today. But this seems unlikely. Far more likely, big trouble is starting. This may turn out to be concentrated in states where the Trump campaign has held large rallies with lots of shouting by people not wearing masks.September 24, 2020 at 01:08 #60594N_
“Cash from Covid: Who is Making a Quick Buck?” – piece in the Glasgow Keelie, voice of “the dissident, the downtrodden, the troublemaker, the enraged, the anarchist, and we welcome the participation of all true lovers of liberty”.September 24, 2020 at 18:38 #60649Clark
Covid-19 cross-infects far more readily indoors. The whole northern hemisphere has just passed equinox, night is now longer than day, the weather is getting less pleasant, people are now gathering indoors, and 90% of the global population is in the northern hemisphere.
UK infection numbers are rising; we should be locking down now. At first the increasing numbers could be accounted for by increased testing, but deaths have been rising for a week now, so true infection numbers must have been rising for nearly a month. The seven-day average deaths now are equivalent to March 20. On March 23, the day of the stay-at-home order, cumulative deaths stood at 331. There have been a similar number of deaths between September 3 and yesterday. This all looks sickeningly familiar, just like March; the government is unwilling to support the population to stay at home by giving us money, so instead they tinker at the edges of their restrictions. And they haven’t a clue what effective measures look like anyway because they’re scientifically illiterate.
The Russian government has been widely criticised in the West for deploying their vaccine before Phase III trials. However, most of Russia has an inland climate, far more harsh than the UK’s. Moscow for instance gets severe cold weather, and much housing is Soviet-legacy high density apartment blocks; very high cross-infection appears inescapable. I suspect that the Russian government has weighed the possibility of adverse vaccine effects against the near certainty of rapid mass infection, and the best-tested vaccine next spring will be the Russian one.September 25, 2020 at 05:15 #60686SA
The Russian vaccine has not been approved for wide scale use, only for a select group. A large scale trial has started in Russia and other countries and the vaccine will only be released for general use after the results of the trial are published. The anti-Russia media attack on Russia is part of this misrepresentation. There is a good explanation of what is actually happening here.September 25, 2020 at 05:31 #60691SA
I am not sure anymore that a second lockdown will work. The first one worked because it was observed by most; the experience was new. Now people are less observant. Social distancing and masks and so on work well in shops but can hardly be applied in eateries and pubs. You can’t eat or drink wearing a mask 😀. But the mask drops even by people who should be wearing them as in public maintainable workers aggregating in places, admittedly mainly in open spaces but not really social distancing. Where I live, there is little sign of social distancing except in formalised settings.
The problem now is that this government does not like to be unpopular and therefore likes to throw the blame back on to the public, whilst being reluctant to effectively enforce the unpopular measures.
The opportunity has been missed. Lockdown with proper isolation and quarantine measures could have worked first time if proper elimination or near elimination of the virus was contemplated, given that we are an island, and if strict measures then taken to limit reimporting the virus. These last have never been in place and to this day air transport hubs have not been effectively monitored to limit incoming passengers reintroducing more waves of infection. NZ and Australia have had some successes on this line.September 25, 2020 at 10:43 #60724N_
Report from Airstrip One
1. The idea that the rulers are whipping up in the population is “Pray for a vaccine to save us”.
Refusing the vaccine when Big Pharma decides “the time has come” will generally be viewed as a crime against humanity, God, common sense, sanity, Work, Property, the white race, and the universe. Wait and see.
2. Among middle class types (a minority of the population) there is also the idea of allowing proper people to “go about their business” as they carry microwave trackers (“smartphones” – yeah, right) with “Track and trace” software installed. “Track and trace” is a typically alliterative or otherwise schematically emphasised bit of advertising talk, basically denoting the electronic tagging of everyone who isn’t under arrest.
3. Grassing up your neighbours if they gather in groups of more than six is being officially encouraged including by government ministers.
4. Meanwhile there is talk of blocking off Kent, the county that British people will have to try travel through if they want to escape famine and death camps by running to the continent. (Clue: Ireland won’t be an option.) What would readers say if they heard that governments in Syria or Venezuela were sealing off their border regions? If they could put down their copies of the Daily Mail for a minute they might be able to apply the same “thought” to Britain that they apply to foreign countries. That’s if they weren’t terrified of foreigners so much, which is of course highly counter-factual. To spell it out: the authorities want you to have nowhere to run to.
5. How many of those recorded as having died “with” Covid-19 have NOT had pneumonia that they caught in an institution?
How many have even been tested for whether they had pneumonia or not?
I reckon practically all the elderly people who have died “with” Covid-19 have had pneumonia.
Dying “with” something doesn’t mean shee-yit. If I die “with” an ingrowing toenail, it doesn’t mean it killed me.
6. SARS-Cov2 is not a flu-type virus, but “Covid-19” is a collection of flu-like symptoms. There’s nothing “odd” about having an impaired sense of smell if you’ve got a cough (or indeed a cold). Yet the authorities are doing things like closing down schools because one child has a runny nose. Never mind that a runny nose is a symptom of a cold, is not a symptom of Covid-19, and does not indicate that someone is more likely to have SARS-Cov2 than if they don’t have a runny nose. All it means is that you’ve got a bit of a cold. Colds are mostly caused by rhinoviruses. Even when they are caused by coronaviruses (maybe 15% of the time), that’s not the same coronavirus as the SARS strain that’s going around. That SARS strain doesn’t give you a runny nose.
7. Sometimes I think people need advice on how to wipe their own bottoms. Talking of bottoms, expect more articles about toilet rolls to take people’s minds off the prospect of food shortages.
8. Trinity College, Cambridge, seems to be above the law banning evictions.
9. I wish people would stop talking about pubs. The majority never go to a pub.
10. Turning off the internet for a few days would cause the suicide rate to skyrocket.September 25, 2020 at 11:20 #60725N_
I couldn’t find the stat I was looking for about going to pubs, but ISTR that the proportion of adults in Britain who go to the pub whether frequently or occasionally had fallen below 50% even before the start of fascism six months ago. If I get time I will look for whether this statistic comes from the ONS.
In 2018 the ONS reported that 27% of those aged 16-24 describe themselves as teetotal. (See the graph in section 2 of that article.) Meanwhile, the proportion of beer sold in the “off trade” has risen relative to the proportion sold in pubs or on other premises for consumption in-house. Many pubs have closed.
Booze companies of course market fanatically to students…universities being to a significant degree about alcohol as well as moneylending. So it’s good to see that so many youngsters don’t drink. How much attention does one have to pay to realise that booze companies have also been marketing fanatically to the population in general by force-feeding them with the message “Celebrate the end of lockdown – get p*issed out of your head down the pub”. Ever felt you were being treated like a cretin?
Of course there is also the consideration that it’s harder to pick your smartphone when you’ve got a glass in your hand, which might explain some of the decline in the number of people who go to pubs. Every location in the real world must seem pretty much the same to smartphone users. Walking the dog in the park? Pick your phone. Having a meal with your spouse? Pick your phone. Taking a crap? Pick your phone? Having a shag? W-wait…someone’s liked something on Facebook – excuse me for a moment while I stop thrusting – it’ll give you a chance to check your Twitter feed too, or look at some porn.
There is very little consequential criticism of addiction…September 25, 2020 at 11:20 #60726Clark
SA, some people are less observant. Most that I know remain vigilant. The fortnight I was in London, mask use on public transport was high; over 80% I’d say.
Some people have become less observant, presumably swayed by the propaganda primarily from the right-wing corporate “news” media, but with summer’s low death rate covid-19 has been easy to dismiss. But with the death rate now rising rapidly, that is likely to change.
Thanks for the MoA link. So it was just yet more Russuphobic FUD about the Russian vaccine. Typical.September 25, 2020 at 12:06 #60730Clark
– ‘Dying “with” something doesn’t mean shee-yit.’
There are now hundreds of regional examples of overall death rates increasing to way above long-term averages, and only returning to normal after social restrictions were imposed. Likewise, there are hundreds of examples of death rates increasing to way above long-term averages after social restrictions have been relaxed. This makes it beyond reasonable doubt that some new airborne-transmitted virus is the cause.
– ‘“Covid-19” is a collection of flu-like symptoms.’
See also the articles linked from the one above; “Covid-19 brain complications include strokes and psychosis” and “Long after a Covid-19 infection, mental and neurological effects smolder”.
It mystifies me that you continue to endorse the Right-wing and corporate propaganda and conspiracy theories about covid-19. Their agenda barely requires thinking about – for the sake of profit, they want to convince as many people as they can to go out and work and spend as much as possible, public health be damned. That should be obvious to anyone who knows Marx’s work. They also don’t want any new vaccines paid for by governments, who have vastly greater bargaining and litigating power than the fragmented and alienated public.
– “Ever felt you were being treated like a cretin?”
Eschew the corporate media.
September 25, 2020 at 12:19 #60731Clark
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by modbot.
– “…the authorities are doing things like closing down schools because one child has a runny nose.”
The schools shouldn’t even be open:
– “It is not safe to reopen schools for in-person schooling while community transmission is still present. In-person schooling increases the risk of rapidly escalating case numbers throughout the community, placing health and lives at risk and possibly requiring further lockdowns to contain transmission. Before a community can safely begin to reopen schools (primary, secondary and higher education), they must bring new cases to zero and have safeguards in place to keep cases at zero.”
Multiple examples provided of schools driving community infection, plus a spreadsheet with links to over 400 articles. UK death rate now rising as fast as it did in March, less than a month after reopening schools.
Fir fook’s sake, close the fookin schools!September 25, 2020 at 16:19 #60739SA
It is frustrating that somebody as intelligent as you keeps ignoring what has been discussed and proven to be nonesensical , move on man.
Covid 19 causes a different loss of smell and taste through a different mechanism than a bunged up nose does. I have described how this is different before and you will have to research this for yourself and come back and discuss, preferably by the Monday morning. Thank you.